At the July Rosenberg City Council workshop meeting, council members agreed to limit audience speech at meetings.
This hot-ticket issue will be revisited and possibly revised at Tuesday’s regular city council meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
The specific amendments to the city policy would limit each speaker addressing council to one time at the beginning of the meeting for up to three minutes on specific agenda items or for general comments.
Currently, audience members can speak during general comments and can sign up to speak on each agenda item.
“The legislature passed a new law that is effective Sept. 1,” City Attorney Grady Randle explained to council at the last meeting.
“Any open meeting that requires an agenda requires (allowing) citizen comments. “Your rules are pretty good as they are. Do you want to have audience comments at the beginning or on the agenda item or both?”
Council members Richard Olson, Kevin Raines, Steven DeGregorio and Jacob Balderas agreed that audience members should speak only once, at the beginning of the meeting.
“I would say either let them speak at the item or at the beginning of a meeting,” Mayor Bill Benton added. “Pick an item or speak at the beginning of the meeting under general comments about all of the items. But you got three minutes to do it.” Council member Isaac Davila said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I do not want to limit anybody’s freedom to speak on any topic they want to,” Davila said. “I kind of like the way we have it now. That’s my opinion.”
The rest of council in attendance did not agree. Council member Lisa Wallingford was not present for the last meeting.
In other business, council members will consider taking action on repealing the city’s decorum policy. At the July workshop meeting, council continue the decorum policy for elected and appointed officials. The policy was adopted on April 16. At the last two regular council meetings, council members deliberated a decorum policy complaint against council member Richard Olson. Both times, the item was slated for executive session, meaning it was discussed in secret. According to council member Isaac Davila, Olson has called him and former council member Amanda Barta bad names on Facebook on multiple occasions. Davila told The Herald that these posts were posted on Facebook about a week before the May 4 election. According to the policy, written notes, voicemails, texts, emails and social media posts should be treated as potentially public communication.